Many people associate German cuisine with the stereotype of being some very heavy, rich food. There are plenty of lighter fare summer recipes in German cuisine too. The climate in Germany is like Pennsylvania or New York in America, so winters can be long and very cold. Rich heavy food is a welcome sight on a cold winter's day.
Rabbit is a very popular meat in Germany. There is always an abundance of rabbit. The old saying, "They breed like rabbits" is a true statement. Rabbits always seem to multiply where they habitate. Germany has a large amount of farm land and rabbits can be quite a pest to crops of vegetables.
There are many different hassenpfeffer recipes in Germany and just as many different German potato pancake recipes. This rabbit entree is cooked in a style that is similar to Berlin klein fleisch stew. The rabbit is traditionally marinated for this recipe.
German restaurant entrees and home cooked German entrees are usually served with a few flavorful side dishes. Spaetzle are a quickly made dumpling noodle that is cooked in water first and then fried and "puffed" in hot lightly browned butter. Potato pancakes can be made with grated potato for a rustic look or they can be very refined like a flour pancake. Wine braised cabbage and baked apples are classic German vegetable accompaniments. When you put all these items on one plate, then you will have a very nice traditional German plate of food!
Note: Several of the following recipes will have to be cooked at one time, so be ready to keep an eye on several items as they cook. The braised cabbage can be cooked ahead of time.
Rabbit Marinade Preparation:
Place the legs, back loin and loin flaps of a rabbit in a container.
Add 1/2 cup of cabernet sauvignon wine.
Add 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar.
Add 2 garlic cloves.
Add 1/2 of a chopped onion.
Add sea salt.
Add 8 cracked black peppercorns.
Cover the container and place the container in a refrigerator.
Marinate for 6 to 10 hours.
Berlin Hassenpfeffer Recipe:
This recipe makes 1 large portion or 2 medium portions!
Place the rabbit pieces on a roasting pan and discard the marinade.
Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.
Add 6 large pearl onions.
Drizzle a little bit of melted unsalted butter over the onions and rabbit.
Bake in a 350 degree oven, till the rabbit becomes fully cooked, but not browned.
Remove the rabbit and pearl onions from the roasting pan.
Cut the rabbit meat off of the bones.
Cut the boneless roasted rabbit meat into bite size pieces.
Place the rabbit pieces and the pearl onions into a sauce pot.
Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Add 7 pitted prunes.
Add enough creme fraiche, to cover the ingredients. (Mix 1/2 sour cream with 1/2 cream to make creme fraiche.)
Place the sauce pot over low heat.
Gently simmer the stew, till the stew becomes hot and till the flavors meld.
Core an apple.
Cut the top and bottom of the apple flat.
Place the apple on a roasting pan.
Drizzle melted unsalted butter over the apple.
Sprinkle 2 pinches of sugar over the apple.
Sprinkle 1 pinch of cinnamon over the apple.
Bake the apple in a 350 degree oven, till it becomes tender.
Keep the baked apple warm on a stove top.
German Rustic Potato Pancakes:
This recipe makes a few potato pancakes!
Par boil 1 peeled russet potato, till it is almost halfway cooked.
Cool the potato under cold running water.
Grate the potato into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 whisked egg.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1/2 of a chopped green onion.
Add just enough flower, while stirring, to form a medium thick batter.
Heat a non stick saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 6 pats of unsalted butter.
Place 4 to 5 ounces of the potato pancake mixture in the hot butter.
Use a spatula to press the potato pancake mixture flat and round.
Pan fry both sides of the potato pancake, till it is lightly browned.
Remove the potato pancake from the pan and set it on a dry towel to drain off the excess grease.
Keep the potato pancake warm on a stove top.
Braised Red Cabbage:
This recipe makes 2 to 3 portions of braised red cabbage!
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 1 strip of bacon.
Saute the bacon, till it becomes crisp.
Remove the bacon and save it for another recipe.
Leave the bacon grease and butter in the pan.
Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
Add 4 1/2 cups of thin sliced red cabbage.
Saute till the cabbage becomes cooked al dente.
Add 1 diced peeled and cored sweet apple.
Add 2 pinches of cinnamon.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
Add 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.
Cover the pan with a lid.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Braise the cabbage, till it becomes tender.
Remove the lid.
Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Simmer and reduce the liquid, till there is no great excess of liquid in the pan.
Keep the braised cabbage warm over very low heat.
Spoon Style Spaetzle:
This recipe makes 3 to 4 portions of spaetzle!
Place 2 eggs into a mixing bowl.
3 ounces of milk.
Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
Add just enough flour, while whisking, to form a medium thick batter.
Heat a pot of water over high heat, till the water boils.
Reduce the temperature to medium heat.
Drizzle spoon fulls of the batter slowly across the top of very hot, but not boiling water. (Rapidly boiling water will tear the delicate spaetzle noodles apart.)
When the spaetzle noodles float, remove them from the water with a fryer net and place them on a dry towel to dry them off.
Gently toss the boiled spaetzle with a little bit of melted butter in a pan, to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
Heat 4 ounces of unsalted butter in a non stick saute pan over medium heat.
Cook the butter, till it turns to a light brown beurre noisette color.
Add the boiled spaetzle noodles.
Stir and toss the noodles in the hot brown butter, till the spaetzle noodles all puff up and absorb some of the brown butter.
Season the spaetzle lightly with sea salt and black pepper.
Keep the spaetzle warm on a stove top.
Place the hassenpfeffer into a large ceramic ramekin.
Place the ramekin on a serving plate.
Arrange the potato pancake, baked apple, braised red cabbage and spaetzle on the plate.
Place a small dollop of creme fraiche on the potato pancake.
Place a few thin slices of green onion on the creme fraiche.
This entree and the accompaniments are a great chilly weather plate of food! The Berlin hassenpfeffer stew is like no other. The prunes make the creme fraiche flavor so very rich. The roasted pearl onions add a nice texture and taste. The stewed rabbit is very tender.
The baked apple lightens the heavy accompaniments on the plate. Spaetzle noodles are so nice and buttery. The braised cabbage is one of my favorites!
Yes, this is rich, buttery German food! The flavors and techniques of cooking fine German food are like no other cuisine in the world. The German side of my family is where I learned to cook good German cuisine. I have only worked in one German country club and a German deli during my entire career. German cuisine is a natural for me to cook! Absolutely delicious! ... Shawna